Symbolic Convergence in the 2015 Duggar Scandal Crisis Communication

Document Type


Publication Date


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



In May 2015, a crisis erupted for the Duggar family from the TLC realityshow“19 Kids and Counting”afterInTouch Magazinepublished an articledetailing how Josh Duggar–the eldest son in the well-known evangelicalfamily–molested several underage girls in 2006. In August, a data leak ofthe extra-marital affair website Ashley Madison revealed that Josh Duggarhad been a user, actively cheating on his wife Anna. Media events like theDuggar scandal are narrated in social media through the use of symbols,such as memes and Instagram photos. This study analyzed the crisisresponse using Symbolic Convergence Theory (SCT) to shed light on thesocial media practices used in reputation management, specifically amongreligious celebrities. The researchers used fantasy theme analysis to revealthe shared rhetorical vision of the event as it progressed through differentcrisis communication phases.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Media and Religion, v. 18, issue 3, p. 85-97